BILLINGS — Gary Roller is stepping down as general manager of the Billings Mustangs after 18 seasons and nearly 30 years with the Pioneer League organization.
In a press release issued Wednesday by the Mustangs, Roller said, "It's been a great run and I'm so thankful for every day that I've spent with the Mustangs organization. Although I grew up watching the Mustangs play at Cobb Field, I honestly didn't know what to expect when I started back in '93, and now years later, as it turns out, I couldn't have scripted a more enjoyable and rewarding career."
A Billings native, Roller has been with the Mustangs most of his adult life. He started with the club nearly 30 years ago as an intern prior to the 1993 season. The next year he was promoted to assistant general manager by longtime Mustangs president Bob Wilson. Roller continued in that position for nearly ten years until he was promoted to GM in December 2004.
During Roller's tenure, the Mustangs were twice awarded Minor League Baseball's coveted John H. Johnson President's Award (1994, 2010), which given to the team that has demonstrated franchise stability and made significant contributions to its community, league, and the baseball industry.
The Mustangs also won the Bob Freitas award in 2012, given for sustained excellence in the business of minor league baseball. The Mustangs also were the inaugural winners of the McCurdy Cup in 2019 and repeated as award winners in 2022. The team has also earned numerous awards from a wide range of baseball publications.
In 2021, Roller guided the club through a transition from an affiliated club with the Cincinnati Reds to independent status.
"Gary Roller embodies everything it means to be a Mustang," team owner Dave Heller stated in the press release. "He loves the game, he loves this great community, he loves the league, and, above all, he loves seeing people at the ballpark. I'm honored to have worked so closely with him over the past eight years. He is not merely a respected friend; he is a Billings institution. His daily presence at Dehler Park will be deeply missed."
In addition to many team honors, Roller also captured numerous individual awards. He was named Pioneer League executive of the year three times (2000, 2008 and 2014) and in 2013 he earned Baseball Chapel's prestigious Bowie Kuhn Award. After Wilson's passing in 2008, Roller helped shepherd the completion of the team's new home, Dehler Park.
The Mustangs were were also successful on the field. During Roller's tenure, the team won Pioneer League championships in 1993, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2003, and 2014.
"The operation is a total team effort and the amount of support we've received along the way from everyone, including ownership, management, league administration, city officials, team personnel, co-workers, family, friends, fans, and the business community has been remarkable," Roller stated in the release.
"I would like to specifically thank Bob Wilson, Woody Hahn, the former Mustangs board of directors, and Dave Heller for trusting and believing in me. It's been an absolute honor serving the organization, and while it hasn't been without its difficulties and challenges, I wouldn't trade even a single experience during my time with the Mustangs for anything."
Roller will remain as general manager until a successor is named, the Mustangs said.